Thailand: Eateries set to reopen from Wednesday

With the government’s lockdown and curfew measures starting to ease on Wednesday, restaurant and retail operators are gearing up efforts to resume services.

Nongchanok Stananonth, assistant vice-president of SLRT Co, operator of Sizzler restaurant under Minor Food Group, said the company is ready on Wednesday to reopen 54 Sizzler restaurants out of the total 60.

However, she said Sizzler branches in some locations such as Bangkok, Pattaya and Nakhon Ratchasima remain closed.

“With many people still working from home and fewer commuters, the company also still halts ‘Sizzler to go’ services which sell sandwiches and light food at elevated mass transit stations,” said Ms Nongchanok.

Minor Food closed 300 restaurants at the end of August and is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday 186 restaurants including those of Sizzler.

The remaining 114 restaurants, mostly located in tourist locations, remain closed.

Atchara Burarak, founder and creative director of Iberry Group, operator of Kub Kao Kub Pla, Ros’niyom and Thong Smith, said the company on Wednesday will reopen almost 30 restaurants at shopping complexes such as CentralWorld and EmQuartier and community malls in Bangkok.

“We separate our reopening plan into two phases. In the first phase from Wednesday to Friday, 36 restaurants or 60% of our total will be opened. For the second phase, we will take time to prepare the readiness of our staff and see customers’ response from the first phase of our reopening,” she said.

Ms Atchara said the company still closed restaurants in tourist destinations as foreign tourists have yet to come back and locations where few Thai people visit as well as locations where the landlords won’t reduce rental fees.

She said she doesn’t understand the logic behind the government’s lockdown and curfew measures.

“The government declared tightened restriction measures while the number of infected people was fewer than 10,000, but it later decided to ease the restriction measures and allow restaurants to resume dine-in services, at 75% capacity in outdoor dining spaces and 50% in air-conditioned locations despite the number of infected people reaching 14,000-16,000 per day,” she said.

“We are not confident about the government’s measures so we have to be more cautious about resuming operations as we have to pay for rent, salaries and raw materials,” Ms Atchara said.

Somphol Tripopnart, managing director of Shopping Center Business at MBK Plc, said the company is ready to provide services to customers, saying all the company’s staff and tenants have already got the first jab.

Up to 50% of tenants have received second jabs, said Mr Somphol.

Amorn Amornkul, deputy managing director for operations at The Mall Group Co, said the company also prepared extra safety measures which align with the guidelines of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to increase customers’ confidence while spending their time at its retail complexes.

All of the staff, tenants and workers at The Mall Group totalling more than 10,000 have received the first jab.